(Cologne Cathedral; Cologne, Germany)
Most of you who follow me on social media know I recently took an 8-day river cruise in Europe. It was a different kind of vacation for someone who considers herself relatively well-traveled. I wanted one I wouldn't need a break from once I returned home if you know what I mean. I traveled with a dear friend I've known since 1989, and our energies aligned well. Many asked how was it? What did you enjoy, etc? Here's what I took away from doing and going someplace differently. I learned a lot about myself, why I do what I do, and how vital aligned energy is when you really need to get away and simply relax.
(Longboat; the Rolf)
First, let me be clear, I had sworn off cruises! My previous cruises involved a large ship with too many people and screaming kids. Nope. I had done some research about luxury travel and cruising while working on my M.A. in Luxury & Fashion Management at Savannah College of Art & Design, so I was clear that if I were to ever take a voyage on water, it would have to be intimate with a minimal amount of people, no cheesy photographs being sold, no wristbands, etc. This was definitely that. I phoned my husband and said, “We're going to become cruisers." Easy plug-and-play. Huge benefit.
A river cruise versus an ocean cruise. It's just that. The boat is not the highlight though very nice. It was perfect for dining with the guests and "gentle" nightly entertainment, which included a piano player that reminded me of the limited HBO Max series, White Lotus, a quartet, and a bass band. The goal is to get off the boat and enjoy the cities where docked.
As women, many of us have experienced traveling with friends only to discover particular qualms and quirks about them that, unfortunately, have ruined some friendships on the return home. From conversation to the ultimate desire to relax and allow, it made Diane (my travel partner) and I perfect for each other. Neither of us needed a break, wanted to do something totally different, and no complaining about anything! We both have adult sons, so the chit-chat about school-age shenanigans was null and void. We chuckle and are glad we're past that stage. I'm a grandmother of three, and she will join the joys with her first grandchild arriving in November.
(Rhine River at night Cologne, Germany)
We were active! We biked through the Black Forest (over 26 miles), took walking tours of castles and churches, listened to the history of each city, wandered off on our own, and simply immersed ourselves in the country's culture. I even drank beer, which I never do at home. But when in Germany, beer is the country's drink of choice. They call it liquid bread! LOL! So good. We stayed open to something different, new experiences, meeting new people without judgment or regard, and simply soaked in the cultures of each country.
It was so incredibly refreshing to not be anyone but me, Sonya. I connected deeply with myself. I wasn't playing ANY ROLE except me. Not entrepreneur, wife, mom, sister, daughter, Bella. Although I love who and what I am for my family, being me without distractions or requests was the most rewarding part of the vacation. Even posting on social media was light and fun, and I practiced doing reels while away. As business owners, we have to think of the post, the message, the picture, the hashtags, the call to action, etc., and it's rarely a random post just about us. Loved it!
Straugsburg, France (L) German Chocolate (C), Windmill, The Netherlands (L)
My mind quieted. I could hear my thoughts on things other than my responsibilities back home. No CNN, no Alexa, only my book and iPhone, which I chose music that felt good to and for my soul.
I discovered I didn't need nor want to talk a lot; I became an observer and sharpened my listening skills even more. Oh, the beautiful things you learn about people, and their exciting lives and experiences. We are seriously more alike than we are different.
(Me at peace in the rain, Rudesheim, Germany)
As a life and wellness coach, I received all types of rest, from spiritual to emotional, sensory, physical, and others. I was wholly renewed from a much-needed respite.
I returned with some insights:
a refined sense of direction personally and professionally
reacquainted with my inner gypsy spirit
the significance of a change of scenery
a heightened sense of the importance of mental health
The peace of anonymity and the lesson that a vacation doesn't eliminate what you left back home. It's simply a pause where clarity can be gained, and creativity can be fostered for your overall total wellness. After all....,
Wellness is the New Black
Live Well, Be Well,